Just random notes on the stuff I have just read:
Extreme Gallery Makeover by Jennifer Thatcher
The article (Art Monthly, September 2010) is discussing trends in how gallery spaces are perceived. The criticism of the so-called Kunsthallen – non-places (Marc Augé), faceless, identical, globalized, all white walls and even lighting – misses, I think, one important issue: some work will be only viewed as art when displayed in such specifically designed places (SPO). E.g. the exhibition of Donald Judd’s furniture/art work at the Ikon: minimalistic pieces, carefully arranged in the gallery space demand to be viewed as art; however, put these pieces in a less art imbued space and you will get a lot of minimalistic furniture. Which it still is (as all this is still produced and sold as furniture). Also, performance art might require this non-personalized space (e.g. Antony Howell’s interview in Curated Space by Manick Govinda).
The article touches on such a variety of topics – from the colour of the gallery walls to the trends in the art space development, but the most interesting (SPO!) were the following points: one about the sociological trend that influence the opposing direction of art space development – that of “dissolving of boundaries between inside and outside, private and public” and the desire to “seek refuge from the lack of privacy”. This last point is very curious as I can definitely put myself into that second trend – I am weary of art that displays the artist’s innards in such a direct way that the observer has nowhere to run – hey, that is another SPO. The second one is right at the end of the article and is meeting my full approbation (as if it needed it sooo badly) – “…the tearing down of gallery walls and the dissolving of barriers between art and public only adds confusion about who or what should be on display”.